Treadwell focused on winning games, SEC title
In the days and weeks leading up to Saturday’s game against Auburn, Laquon Treadwell was constantly reminded by others of the horrific leg injury he suffered in last season’s 35-31 loss to the Tigers. He heard all of the talk about what an important game it was for him personally, but Treadwell has far more in mind—like winning an SEC Championship and possibly playing for a national title.
The road contest inside Jordan-Hare Stadium was just another game for the Ole Miss wide receiver.
Treadwell stepped into the hostile environment of 87,451 screaming War Eagle fans who booed him and his teammates and prayed for the Rebels to suffer defeat. But Treadwell and the Rebels had other plans in mind.
Ole Miss quarterback Chad Kelly found his favorite target towards the back of the end zone for a 21-yard touchdown pass when the game was separated by merely one point (20-19). Treadwell’s reception was the dagger and propelled No. 19 Ole Miss (7-2, 4-1) to the 27-19 road victory.
Treadwell finished the game with 114 receiving yards on seven carries and also threw one pass—a 21-yarder to senior running back Jaylen Walton—that was part of the Rebels’ third scoring drive. Yet, Treadwell felt he could have done better and said he remained patient with the double coverages Auburn (4-4, 1-4 SEC) was throwing his way.
Treadwell had one catch for 18 yards in the first half.
“It wasn’t frustrating at all. I knew my time was coming and I just stayed in the moment,” Treadwell said. “At halftime, coach said ‘Don’t worry about the first half. It’s over and you’ll put on in the second half. Let’s go take it from them.’ That’s what we came out and did.”
Treadwell came out in the second half throwing the ball, connecting with Walton for 21 yards to the Tigers’ 34-yard line. Then Kelly found Treadwell on a screen pass for 10 yards to Auburn’s 24. Those two plays put kicker Gary Wunderlich in great field position for the 37-yard field goal, which gave the Rebels the 13-10 lead.
Treadwell wouldn’t see the football again until early in the fourth quarter, when Kelly found him running down the left sideline for the 33-yard reception. At that point in the game, with Ole Miss leading 20-19, the offense needed to punch in seven points to avoid an upset. That’s when the Treadwell did super-human Treadwell things, as he caught Kelly’s floating pass in the end zone despite his defender being draped all over him.
To Treadwell, the catch wasn’t about piling up the stats sheet or making history as a receiver at the University of Mississippi. Instead, it was all about helping the Rebels win games and move closer and closer to a championship.
But Treadwell knows there’s still work left to do.
“It’s a great win,” Treadwell said after the game. “I think the team needed it and we needed it. It’s another step, another win. We’ll keep working hard trying to get win after win. It’s a one game season, that’s what we’re telling ourselves. No matter how it looks, a win is a win and we move on.”
But what about considering this victory over the Tigers as a revenge win? That was the build-up all week leading up to the game; however, Treadwell said he simply overlooked all of the chatter.
“No, this wasn’t a revenge game,” Treadwell said.
We knew we were going to have to go out there and battle. They were going to try to win as much as we were going to try to win. We just knew it was a 60-minute game and we had to play lights out and depend on each other, and that’s what we did.
The Rebels will surely depend on Treadwell as they go into their final three league games against Arkansas, LSU and Mississippi State in hopes of taking the SEC West title.